Malala Yousafzai

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Malala Yousafzai in hospital after the murderous attack on her
Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


The authors of this article are...

i) Reuters | Oct 10, 2014

ii) Agencies | Oct 11, 2014

iii) The Times of India




vii) Info Please

vii a) The Guardian

ix) BBC

The Nobel laureate

Malala Yousafzai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, is hailed around the world as a champion of women's rights who stood up bravely against the Taliban to defend her beliefs.

But in her deeply conservative homeland, many view her with suspicion as an outcast or even as a Western creation aimed at damaging Pakistan's image abroad.

Malala’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech

From Alexandra Topping, The Guardian

Dec 10, 2014: In a speech described by Pamela Engel of Business Insider as ‘incredible,’ ‘Jaw Dropping,’ and a ‘speech show[ing] her spectacular wisdom,’ Malala used her Nobel peace prize acceptance speech to launch a searing attack on “strong” governments that have the resources to begin wars but not to enable universal education.

She said: “Why is it that countries which we call strong are so powerful in creating wars but are so weak in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy, but giving books is so hard?”

She was given a rousing standing ovation at the beginning and end of her speech. she said: “We are living in the modern age and we believe that nothing is impossible. We have reached the moon 45 years ago and maybe we will soon land on Mars. Then, in this 21st century we must be able to give every child a quality education.

“I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls,” she said, pointing to her “sisters” in the crowd.

In an often humorous and gently self-deprecating speech, she noted that she wanted world peace but it was something she and her brothers were still working on. Malala recalled loving school so much as a child that she and her classmates decorated their hands with mathematical formulas and equations instead of flowers, wrote Alexandra Topping of The Guardian.

“We would sit there with big dreams in our eyes. We wanted to make our parents proud and prove that we could also excel in our studies and reach our goals which some people only think boys can,” she said.

She described her “paradise” home of the Swat valley before the Taliban gained control. “Education went from being a right to being a crime. Girls were stopped from going to school,” she said. “When my world suddenly changed, my priorities changed, too. I had two options: one was to remain silent and wait to be killed and the second was to speak up and then be killed. I chose the second one; I decided to speak up.”

She joked that although she was only 5ft 2in tall – in heels – she was not a lone voice. “I am many [...] I am those 66 million girls who are deprived of education – and today I am not raising my voice, it is the voice of those 66 million girls,” she said.

“Sometimes people like to ask me, why should girls go to school? Why is it important for them? But I think the more important question is: why shouldn’t they? Why shouldn’t they have this right?”

Political dreams--and ambitions

Speaking before the ceremony, Malala revealed that she hoped to pursue a career in politics and become prime minister of Pakistan. “I want to serve my country and my dream is that my country becomes a developed country and I see every child get an education,” she told the BBC. “If I can serve my country best through politics and through becoming a prime minister, then I would definitely choose that.” (From Alexandra Topping of The Guardian)

Personal details

Born: 12 July 1997

Birthplace: Mingora, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Tragic rise to fame

Malala Yousafzai became globally known in 2012 when Taliban gunmen almost killed her for her passionate advocacy of women's right to education.

Malala’s parents

The (ghost-written) autobiographical book I Am Malala reveals that Malala is the daughter of a man of exceptional courage with a profound belief in the right of every child to fulfil his or her potential. In a land that esteems boys and commiserates with the family when a girl is born, Ziauddin was the exception. "Malala will be free as a bird," he vowed. He named his daughter after Malalai of Maiwand, the Pashtun's own Joan of Arc, who rallied Afghan men in 1880 to defeat the British, losing her own life in the process.

Ziauddin, poverty stricken, fought for his own education and went on to found schools for boys and girls. He had a love marriage with Tor Pekai and continued his student activism into adult life.

The Taliban: hostile to girls’ education

The Taliban, led by a school drop-out, Maulana Fazlullah, the men in black turbans wearing badges pledging "sharia law or martyrdom" banned dancing, DVDs (Ugly Betty is a Malala favourite), CDs and beauty parlours. Public whippings, executions and injustice became rife. Malala would later refer to a 13-year-old girl raped and imprisoned for adultery.

By the end of 2008, the Taliban had destroyed 400 schools. Malala, 11 years old and mostly top of her class, tried to occupy herself with Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time.

On 14 January 2009, all the girls' schools were permanently closed.

Malala, 11: a champion of girls' education

Raised in Pakistan's ruggedly beautiful, politically volatile Swat Valley, Malala was barely 11 years old when she began championing girls' education, speaking out in TV interviews. In the Swat Valley, the Taliban regime has banned girls from attending school. The Taliban had overrun her hometown of Mingora, terrorizing residents and threatening to blow up girls' schools.

She was a young student in the Swati town of Mingora in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when she became interested in women's rights.

Encouraged by her father, a headteacher and anti-Taliban campaigner, Malala began speaking out about girls' education aged just 11. That would be unusual in most societies, but especially in one where girls are often undervalued.

In September 2008 she spoke at local press club meeting, telling the gathered journalists: "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?" It was her first public speech.

Her words were remarkable, not only for their clarity and intelligence, but also for their fearlessness.

Just weeks earlier, the Taliban had taken control of the Swat Valley where Malala lived and issued an edict banning girls from attending school. Most people retreated in fear, but Malala thrust herself into the spotlight to protest against the injustice.

After the press club speech she made TV news appearances in both Pakistan and the United States.

On 11 January 2009, eleven days before all the girls' schools were permanently closed, Malala started a blog for BBC Urdu under the pseudonym of Gul Makai [lit. cornflower], after a folklore heroine. The blog brought fame to Malala and her fight. She gave television interviews. "They can stop me going to school but they can't stop me learning," she said defiantly. At the time nobody believed the Taliban would kill a child.

Four years later she would say, "Today, I also read my diary written for the BBC in Urdu. My mother liked my pen name Gul Makai. I also like the name because my real name means 'grief stricken'."

Gul Makai was the name of a heroine from a Pashtun folk tale.

Malala consistently received support and encouragement in her activism from her parents. The idea for the blog was even that of her father Ziauddin, who ran a local private school. In a lengthy profile published in Vanity Fair magazine, one teacher from Swat said that her father "encouraged Malala to speak freely and learn everything she could".

Malala was only 11 years old then, when her anonymous diary - published between January and March 2009 on BBC Urdu - captivated audiences with its heartfelt account of the struggle for girls' education at a time when the Taliban controlled Swat.

The Pakistani army launched military operations to drive out the Taliban in 2009, and a documentary film helped Yousafzai became internationally famous as a chronicler of the chaos. She was nominated in 2011 for the International Children's Peace Prize, and that same year won Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize (now called the National Malala Peace Prize).

In January 2009, as the school was closing for winter vacation she wrote: "The girls were not too excited about vacations because they knew if the Taliban implemented their edict [banning girls' education] they would not be able to come to school again. I am of the view that the school will one day reopen but while leaving I looked at the building as if I would not come here again."

She documented the anxiety she and her friends felt as they saw students dropping away from class for fear of being targeted by militants, and as the girls began to attend school in plain clothes not uniform, so as not to draw attention to themselves.

Almost 2 million people fled the Swat valley that spring. Eventually, In May 2009, Malala and her family, like many thousands of other Swat residents, fled the valley when a government military operation attempted to clear the region of militancy. The Yousafzai family locked up their house and joined the exodus, moving to four cities in two months.

Floods, an earthquake, the Taliban – Malala resolved to become a politician because "there are so many crises and no real leaders". Later, at age 14, she would reflect: "Sometimes I think it's easier to be a Twilight vampire than a girl in Swat."

When she finally returned to Swat, Malala took advantage of the improved security and went back to school.

After her identity as the girl blogger from Swat eventually became known as she became more vocal on the subject of the right of girls to education. It is a subject she never ceased to be passionate about even after she returned home once the militants had been run out of Swat.

Malala and her family were the subject of threats and it was on 9 October 2012 that these were borne out. Then came her would-be assassin.

Threats to her family followed as soon as her identity was revealed, leading up to an assassination attempt in October 2012.

Rida, a girl from a destroyed school, joined Malala and her best friend, Moniba – "Three is a tricky number," Malala later commented, [and this was' not helped by others "putting masala in the situation".

The attack

Malala’s mother Tor Pekai, like many Pashtun girls in the Swat valley in Pakistan, had attended school briefly at the age of six. Many years later, in her 30s, on Tuesday 9 October 2012, she went back to restart her education.

In a terrible irony, it (October 9, 2012) was also the day that daughter Malala Yousafzai was critically injured on, when a masked Taliban gunman [two gunmen according to InfoPlease ] boarded her school bus while returning home on a school bus. He asked the terrified students onboard: “Who is Malala?” Instinctually, Malala’s friends looked at her, and then the gunman shot the teenage activist at point-blank range. A bullet ripped through her head, neck and shoulder. The shootout wounded two [three, according to Info Please ] of her school friends as well.

By then the Taliban had been pushed out of Swat by the Pakistani army, and were living the ;

The bullet hit Malala's left brow and instead of penetrating her skull it travelled underneath the skin, the length of the side of her head and into her shoulder.

She was shot for her passionate advocacy of women's right to education.. She survived through luck — the bullet did not enter her brain — and by the quick intervention of British doctors visiting Pakistan.

Till recently, the Taliban had been in power in the strategic valley after they took control over the region and imposed strict Islamic rules, including their opposition to women's education.

She survived after delicate surgery at a Pakistani military hospital. Amid the outpouring of global support she was flown to the UK and at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the city of Birmingham she received specialist treatment and had a titanium plate fitted as well as a cochlear implant in her skull to help her hear.

She recovered from her life-threatening wounds and was discharged from hospital in January 2013.

The Taliban claimed credit for the shooting and vowed to kill Yousafzai for encouraging western ideas, specifically the education of women. The Taliban said that they targeted her for "promoting secular education" and threatened to attack her again.

Malala began attending Edgbaston High School in March 2013 and her father was given a job with the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham for three years.

In September 2014 Pakistan's military announced the arrest of ten suspects as part of an operation that involved the army , police and intelligence agencies. The army spokesman said the group had a hitlist of 22 targets in addition to Malala, all ordered by Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah.

In April 2015 a court in Pakistan reportedly sentenced 10 men to life imprisonment for attempting to kill Malala Yousafzai, though the chief suspect continued to remain at large. The man suspected of actually firing the gun at Malala, named by officials as Ataullah Khan, is believed to be on the run in Afghanistan, along with Fazlullah, who ordered the attack.

The Taliban have vowed to kill her if she ever returns to her homeland.

Was the story of the sentencing on ten men true? No. Then how did it originate?

Eight of the ten accused were acquitted

Adapted from the BBC:

In April 2015, Sayed Naeem, a public prosecutor in Swat, told the Associated Press news agency after the trial: "Each militant got 25 years in jail. It is life in prison for the 10 militants who were tried by an anti-terrorist court." In Pakistan, a life sentence is 25 years.

The announcement of the convictions in April took many by surprise. No journalist had been made aware that the trial was taking place.

The trial was held at a military facility rather than a court and was shrouded in secrecy, a Pakistani security source told the BBC.

Pakistani authorities did not make the judgement available at any stage, nor did they correct the reports over the next two months that 10 men had been convicted.

However, reporters from the London-based Daily Mirror attempted to locate the 10 convicted men in prisons in Pakistan. That is when a totally different story emerged.

In June 2015, the BBC reported that eight of the 10 men reportedly jailed for the attempted assassination of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai had actually been acquitted.

The court judgement – was seen for the first time more than a month after the trial – and claimed that the two men convicted were those who shot Ms Yousafzai in 2012.

The secrecy surrounding the trial, which was held behind closed doors, raised suspicions over its validity.

The authorities did not say when and where the men had been arrested or how they were linked to the attack, or explain the charges against them.

A symbol of women's education

She has since become a symbol of defiance in the fight against militants operating in Pashtun tribal areas in northwest Pakistan — a region where women are expected to keep their opinions to themselves and stay at home.

Malala gained global recognition as a human rights fighter militating for the right to female education, freedom and self-determination.

Malala is a global advocate for the rights of girls and their education through her non-profit, the Malala Fund. Much of the money Malala has been awarded has gone to the Malala fund. "Please join my mission," she asks. It's vital that those of us who can, do.

Her determination to ensure all girls get an education hasn't faltered even for a moment. In Sept 2013 she launched the Malala Fund, which will support 40 Pakistani girls through school. "After a brutal attempt to silence her voice, it grew louder, and she more resolute," said actress and UN special envoy Angelina Jolie at the launch.

The fund set up in her name helps children in education around the world and she even travelled to Nigeria, meeting President Goodluck Jonathan to press for action to free the 200 girls held by Boko Haram Islamist militants.

She then said that a country's strength should not be measured by its army but by the number of educated people in it.

Making a passionate plea for more education, Malala said "We are all here together united to help these children, to speak for them, to take action. These children do not want an I phone, an X-box, a Playstation or chocolates. They just want a book and a pen".

She even confronted then US special envoy to the region, Richard Holbrooke, urging him to do something about the state of affairs for women who want an education.

After she was shot, over 2 million Pakistanis signed a petition, which helped lead to the ratification of the country’s first Right to Education bill.

In 2014 Malala went silent for 24 hours to show solidarity with children whose voices are silenced.

Compassion for her tormentors

"The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born," she told the United Nations in 2013.

On her 16th birthday in July 2103, having been hours from death and endured several operations, deafness and facial paralysis, Malala addressed the United Nations Youth Assembly in New York. "Here I stand, one girl among many," she said. "I raise my voice… so that those without a voice can be heard

"I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me. I would not shoot him," she said in a speech that captivated the world.

"The wise saying, 'The pen is mightier than sword' was true. The extremists are afraid of books and pens," she told the United Nations. "The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them."

Malala went on to speak out fearlessly, in spite of threats and intimidation, they have a crusader who has the composure, fluency and wisdom of far more mature years, yet she also remains a fun-loving teenager of modesty, spirit, humour and charm. "I think they may be regretting that they shot Malala," she said wittily of the Taliban in a 2013 interview, relishing that a joy in learning can prove such powerful propaganda.

Laurels around the world…

Malala in 2013 won the prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2013. Malala has also won the European Union's human rights award/ the European Parliament's Sakharov price for Freedom of Thought

The girl whose struggle was once ignored now has regular audiences with presidents, monarchs and Hollywood A-listers. She's been named one of the 10 most influential people in the world (higher even than Barack Obama) called "a symbol of hope, a daughter of the United Nations" by the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon. She was named one of TIME magazine's most influential people in 2013, put forward for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. Her autobiography "I Am Malala" was released in 2013, and reversioned for younger audiences.

In 2009 a documentary film was even made about her. Many more honours followed: in 2011 she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by The KidsRights Foundation and in 2012 the Pakistani government awarded her the National Peace Award - subsequently renamed the National Malala Peace Prize - for those under 18 years old.

Now based in Britain, she is unable to return to her homeland because of Taliban threats to kill her and her family members. The current Taliban chief, Mullah Fazlullah, was the one who ordered the 2012 attack against her.

Yousafzai has enrolled in a school in Birmingham and become a global campaigner for women's right to education and other human rights issues, taking up issues such as the situation in Syria and Nigieria.

Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai, has become a United Nations Special Advisor on Global Education

…but hated in much of Pakistan

In her native Swat valley, however, many people view Malala, -backed by a supportive family and a doting father who inspired her to keep up with her campaign, with a mixture of suspicion, fear and jealousy. It's ironic that while Malala is hailed around the world as a champion of women's rights, in her homeland many view her with suspicion as an outcast or even as a Western creation aimed at damaging Pakistan's image abroad. At the time of her Nobel nomination, social media sites were brimming with insulting messages. "We hate Malala Yousafzai, a CIA agent," said one Facebook page.

The Nobel Peace Prize, 2014

Malala was one of the favourites to win the Nobel Prize in 2013.

When told she had won the Nobel peace prize on 11 Oct 2014, Malala Yousafzai was appropriately enough at school in central England, where she has been living after recovering from a Taliban bullet.

The Norwegian Nobel Institute admitted for the first time ever, that the global figurehead for a girl's right to an education — Malala Yousafzai missed out on the Nobel peace prize in 2013 for being too young.

She however won the world's most coveted prize in 2014. This still makes her the youngest Nobel laureate ever at the age of 17.

So far, 47 Nobel prizes have gone to women between 1901 and 2014. Malala became the 16th woman being awarded the Nobel peace prize which also includes Mother Teresa from India.

Director of the Nobel Institute in Oslo Geir Lundestad told The Times of India in an exclusive interview "It is a tremendous responsibility to win the Nobel prize. And when you give it to someone too young or too unknown, it changes their life forever. We throw them out to the world stage overnight. We felt the same about Malala last year and thought it was too early for her to receive the prize".

The Nobel committee was also wary whether Malala would be able to handle the pressure that comes from global fame and expectation after winning the Nobel prize.

"However, Malala has performed very well over the past year as a global ambassador for education and we felt it was time to give her the prize," Lundestad told The Times of India .

The Norwegian Nobel Committee had awarded the prize in 2013 to the International Chemical Weapons watchdog that is destroying poison gas stockpiles in Syria, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Malala was however very gracious in defeat even though she was the favourite to win. She said OPCW deserved to win the prize and said on Twitter "congratulate the OPCW and thank it for its wonderful work for humanity".

Later when asked on missing the prize, she said "I think that it's really an early age. But there's always later. I would feel proud, when I would work for education, when I would have done something, when I would be feeling confident to tell people, Yes, I have built that school; I have done that teachers' training, I have sent that (many) children to school. Then if I get the Nobel peace prize, I will be saying, Yeah, I deserve it, somehow".

One of the events that caught the Nobel committee's eye was the confidence with which Malala addressed the UN.

She told the elite gathering on her 16th birthday that books and pens scare extremists. Malala has been credited with bringing the issue of women's education to global attention. A quarter of young women around the world have not completed primary school.

I Am Malala

The memoir I Am Malala (2013) was skilfully ghosted by Christina Lamb, the highly respected foreign correspondent [and chronicler of Pakistan’s descent into chaos]. However, the teenaged Malala’s voice is never lost.

Youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai, has become a millionaire

Stephen Moyes wrote in The Sun in June 2016:

Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai, shot in the face for campaigning about women’s rights, is now a millionaire.

A firm set up to handle cash from the former schoolgirl’s international best-selling book and lecture tours has £2.3million in its coffers.

In 2015 the company turned over £1.1million, and the teenager will have to pay a tax bill of £200,000.

Salarzai Limited – registered in London – is run with the help of Malala’s proud and protective father, Zia.

Accounts submitted to Companies House reveal the principal activity of the firm is “owning the rights to the story” of Malala.

Malala stars in speaking engagements, and has become an advocate for women’s rights, across the world.

She has also set up a drive to try and help the 60 million girls in the world who do not have access to education.

Malala is now an advocate for women’s rights

Malala’s Fund aims to “raise girls’ voices and ensure every girl has access to 12 years of free, safe, quality primary and secondary education”.

In 2015 the devout Muslim hit out at Donald Trump’s plan to ban followers of her religion from entering America.

Malala called the comments of the US Presidential hopeful “tragic” and “full of hatred”.

A family spokesman said: “Since the publication of Malala’s book, Malala and her family have donated more than $1million to charities, mostly for education-focused projects across the world including Pakistan.”

Asteroid named after Malala

Malala Yousafzai gets asteroid named after her

BBC 13 April 2015

In 2015, the US space agency Nasa named an asteroid that sits in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter after Malala Yousafzai.

The asteroid is a full four kilometres wide

NASA's Amy Mainzer, who discovered the asteroid, wrote on the Malala Fund Blog, that she wanted the naming to be an inspiration to young women.

"We desperately need the brainpower of all smart people to solve some of humanity's most difficult problems, and we can't afford to reject half the populations."

2017: UN's youngest Messenger of Peace

Malala to be UN's youngest Messenger of Peace, April 9, 2017: The Times of India

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is set to become the UN's youngestever Messenger of Peace after she was selected by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the highest honour bestowed by the world body on a global citizen.

“Even in the face of grave danger, Malala has shown an unwavering commitment to the rights of women, girls and all people,“ the Secretary-General said on his selection of Yousafzai for the designation.

“Her courageous activism for girls' education has already energised so many people around the world,“ he said, adding that as the UN's youngest-ever Messenger of Peace, she can do even more to help create a more just and peaceful world. Yousafzai, 19, became a global symbol of the fight for girls education after being shot in the head in October 2012 for opposing Taliban restrictions on female education.

She became an advocate for millions of girls denied formal education around the world. In 2013, Yousafzai and her father Ziauddin Yousafzai co-founded the Malala Fund to bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls education .

2017: Admission in Oxford University

Omer Farooq Khan, Edu activist Malala heads to Oxford, August 18, 2017: The Times of India

Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel prize winner, has managed to secure ad mission into the prestigio us Oxford University.

The 19-year old tweeted a screenshot of her acceptance stating that she has met the criteria to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at the University of Oxford. “So excited to go to Oxford!! Well done to all A-level students, “ she tweeted.

2021/ Marriage

Malala and Asser Malik with a Shah Rukh Khan cutout in July 2021, four months before their marriage

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai marries at home in Britain


The 24-year-old, who lives in Britain, said she and her new husband, who she named only as Asser, had wed in the city of Birmingham and celebrated at home with their families.

"Today marks a precious day in my life. Asser and I tied the knot to be partners for life," she wrote on Twitter, adding four pictures to her post.

Internet users identified him as Asser Malik, general manager of the Pakistan Cricket Board's High Performance Centre.

As recently as July [2021], Ms Malala told British Vogue magazine that she was not sure if she would ever marry.

"I still don't understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can't it just be a partnership?" she was quoted as saying in a lengthy profile.

The comment drew criticism from many social media users in Pakistan at the time.

Cinema/ Filmography

Malala has been in the movies, too.

As a/ an …

Executive producer

Joyland (2022): a feature film


Kowalski: Allah (2019)

Music Video


He Named Me Malala (2015)

Inspired by the book: I Am Malala

See also

Abdul Sattar Edhi

Qandeel Baloch

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